RICHIE Smallwood is not looking for the sympathy vote over City’s Wembley near miss.

The Bantams produced one of their best displays of the season to scare Wycombe in the EFL Trophy semi-final.

But they could not find a goal to show for it – a problem that Smallwood admits has dogged them for too long.

“We need to start scoring the first goal and adding more goals to our game,” he said.

“We created chances but didn’t manage to put them away.

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“I thought they defended well. There were a few blocks and the keeper held onto a lot of shots - and there were a lot of shots where we should have hit the target and we didn't.

"Then we got sucker-punched at the end.

"It's just frustrating because it's probably the best football we've played over the two games against them - the FA Cup and Wednesday.

"We knew what they would come and do and we fancied it, but we just couldn't quite score the first goal. if we had, it would have been completely different.

"Against any side in any league that's what happens if you don't take your chances.”

Smallwood has been a long-time critic of City’s struggle to turn good opportunities into more goals.

The absence of Andy Cook was highlighted as they failed to take a string of chances when the League One side were on the rack.

The skipper added: “He's a big loss. We only achieved things last season because of him and he would have probably scored on Wednesday - but he got sent off and it was out of our hands.

"It's not just the strikers, we've all got to chip in with goals - midfielders, Gilly (Alex Gilliead) has got a couple this season, defenders have got to be scoring and our set pieces aren't good enough - the deliveries, we're not attacking the right areas, not getting away from our men, too many free headers out of the box.

“We've got to somehow come up with ideas to score more goals and take the burden off Cooky. It seems when he doesn't score, no one does.

"No one tries to miss chances or not get away from their man or get blocked but we've got to try and spread the goals out to give us a better chance.”

Cook is back for tomorrow’s trip to one of his former clubs Barrow. But Smallwood is missing again as he sits out the second game of his league ban for clocking up 10 bookings.

City have won three on the bounce to move into the over-populated play-off race and Smallwood insists they need to keep that push going.

“Three wins is not enough, it's got to be eight, nine, 10 wins in a row.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Andy Cook will return to City's attack after his midweek suspensionAndy Cook will return to City's attack after his midweek suspension (Image: Thomas Gadd)

"I hope we can do that. You never know in this league, if you get a bit of momentum and a bit of confidence like we've got at the minute.

"In the league our performances, especially MK, have been coming for a while. Going to Wrexham - who could go top of the league if they win their game in hand - and winning showed we can, we just need to be more clinical.

"We've got the rest, we've got the basics and the foundations.

"I think that last week has helped us refocus and brought it home that we can't afford too many more lapses.

“We've got to put a pretty strong run together and win games consecutively, we've got to go unbeaten for a large number of the remaining games.

"We don't want (Wednesday) to linger. We want to use it as fuel to try and get promoted - at Wembley through the play-offs or however it might be.

"We've got to go to Barrow and win to push us even closer to where we want to be. We want to go one step closer than last season.

“Barrow's a massive game and we've got to carry on the consecutive (league) wins and put in a display like that. If we do, I'm more than confident we'll win.”